More coverage of filing of case against Kohona at ICC

February 22, 2011 Comments Off on More coverage of filing of case against Kohona at ICC

SMH – Australian could face court over Tamil Tigers deaths

AN AUSTRALIAN citizen and senior Sri Lankan diplomat has been accused of complicity in the murders of three surrendering Tamil Tigers in an application to the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.

The man, Palitha Kohona, was the international face of the Sri Lankan government’s war with separatist militants, the Tamil Tigers, and played an important role in the surrender of Tamil Tiger soldiers following their defeat in May 2009.

But reports of mass killings and the extrajudicial killing of surrendering Tigers have since surfaced. Dr Kohona and the Sri Lankan government strongly deny the claims, and so far the international community has been reluctant to investigate them.
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However, two international Tamil organisations have made a series of war crimes allegations to the International Criminal Court involving Dr Kohona and his role in the negotiated surrender of three Tamil Tigers who are believed to have been killed. More

Inner City Press – Sri Lanka War Crimes Filing with ICC Names UN Nambiar Along With Kohona

ATC – War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Former Australian DFAT Official

February 22, 2011 Comments Off on ATC – War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Former Australian DFAT Official

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on 22 February 2011 –

War Crimes Complaint Filed Against Former Australian DFAT Official

Tamil rights groups submitted a complaint to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling on it for the investigation of Dr. Palitha Kohona, a dual Sri Lankan-Australian national and former senior official at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Dr. Palitha Kohona is alleged to have been involved in war crimes against Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka.

The two leading organisations involved in the submission are US-based Tamils Against Genocide (TAG) and the Swiss Council of Eelam Tamils. “The argument thus far has been it is impossible to file at the ICC because Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Statute. However, Australia is a signatory, and Kohona’s dual nationality creates a jurisdictional workaround for this crime,” says Rajeev Sreetharan who leads the TAG team.

In Australia, the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) has continued to gather evidence of war crimes committed in Sri Lanka during the last five years. “Many in the Australian Tamil community have lost loved ones due to what strongly identify as war crimes by Sri Lankan officials onto the Tamils. If a potential criminal is an Australian citizen, this raises questions of whether Australia will indirectly protect a war criminal or whether it will assert its jurisdiction over this crime,” says Dr. Sam Pari, spokesperson for the ATC.

Dr. Kohona was one of a number of senior officials who had negotiated a surrender agreement promising prisoner-of-war status for 3 senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam combatants and up to 40 accompanying civilians. There is strong evidence to suggest that these surrendees were executed after their surrender. The submission calls upon an independent investigation into what unfolded during and since their surrender and focuses on all senior United Nations (UN) and Sri Lankan government and military officials involved.

In the months prior to May 2009, during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka, up to 40,000 civilians, notably Tamils were estimated to have been killed. Human rights groups such as Amnesty International, International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch have continuously called for an international independent inquiry into war crimes but the Sri Lankan government has been defiant. The UN has since established an ‘Expert Advisory Panel’ but there has been hardly any progress.

Media contact:

Dr. Sam Pari, Australian Tamil Congress – 0433 428 967

Breaking News – will a former Aussie diplomat be tried for war crimes?

February 21, 2011 Comments Off on Breaking News – will a former Aussie diplomat be tried for war crimes?

ABC PM – Push to investigate Australian citizen for war crimes

Listen to MP3 of this story (minutes)

MARK COLVIN: The International Criminal Court in the Hague overnight received a submission to the Office of the Prosecutor to investigate an Australian citizen for war crimes.

The brief claims that during the last days of Sri Lanka’s civil war the dual Sri Lankan-Australian citizen Dr Palitha Kohona was involved in the murder of three Tamil Tiger leaders who had already surrendered.

The US-based group Tamils Against Genocide has brought the case. They say there’s no way to bring any potential Sri Lankan war criminals to justice in the International Criminal Court. Instead they’re hoping Dr Kohona’s Australian passport will allow a case to proceed.

Sarah Dingle reports.

Who will be held accountable for sexual violence against Tamil women?

February 21, 2011 Comments Off on Who will be held accountable for sexual violence against Tamil women?

ECCHR (10/02) – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women urges prompt investigations into acts of sexual violence in Sri Lanka

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) urges Sri Lanka to “promptly investigate, prosecute and punish all acts of violence including sexual violence” which arose during the last stages of the conflict and in the post-conflict phase. Prior to this, ECCHR submitted a report during the 48thSession CEDAW Committee on the foreseeability of sexual violence during the Sri Lanka conflict.

The self censoring press under Rajapakse

February 21, 2011 Comments Off on The self censoring press under Rajapakse

Committee to Protect Journalists (15/02) – Attacks on the Press 2010: Asia Analysis

by Bob Dietz and Shawn W. Crispin

Lal Wickramatunga’s family and publishing house, Leader Publications, have paid dearly in Sri Lanka’s highly charged political climate. While Leader’s newspapers, including the weeklySunday Leader, are widely known for tough, independent reporting, they have been caught up in a partisan media environment, one filled with violence and censorship. Wickramatunga’s brother has been murdered, his company has been sued, and his journalists face intimidation.

A powerful piece on boycotting Galle Festival

February 20, 2011 Comments Off on A powerful piece on boycotting Galle Festival

Roma Tearne is an advisor to the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice

Roma Tearne’s blog (19/02) – The Galle Literary Festival: A Cultural boycott?

I wasn’t going to say anything. The news from the place where I was born is old news. What I feel about the civil war in Sri Lanka is an old story, too. And anyway, here, in Britain we have enough problems of our own to bother about some pretty island in the Indian Ocean. But then, I read a sentimental little piece about the Galle Literary Festival written by a Sri Lankan writer and it became impossible to stay silent. The writer is Tamil, not born in Sri Lanka but living in the US and her inability to think either clearly or analytically is disturbing. Her article, written with ‘swimming eyes’, in gushing prose, and her reasons for attending the Galle literary festival, are as thin as rice paper.

For Tamils, SL Independence Day is 'Black Day'

February 6, 2011 § 1 Comment

Toronto Sun (05/02) – Tamils take their plight to Toronto’s streets

Toronto’s Tamil community have taken it to the streets again.

About 200 people marched outside the Sri Lankan consulate on St. Clair Ave. W. between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Friday protesting the treatment of their fellow Tamils in their homeland.

“Our people are still in a very bad situation,” said Prab Alliah, 50, Ontario chairman of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. “In Sri Lanka (Tamils) are not living as humans, they live as animals,”

Tamil protesters brought the city streets to a halt many times in the spring of 2009 in an effort to convince the Canadian government to stop the war in Sri Lanka.

Friday marked the 63rd anniversary of Sri Lankan independence but Tamils say that is the day they lost their freedom.

Tamils in Sri Lanka are subject to constant oppression, violence and murder, said one protester.

Kandiah, who didn’t want to give his last name, went so far as to call it a “genocide.”

Sify (05/02) – Tamil diaspora marks Sri Lanka independence day as black day

The Tamil diaspora in Canada marked Sri Lanka’s independence day Friday as a ‘black day’ by wearing black badges.

‘We join the Tamils back home in marking this day as a black day. The Tamil diaspora all over the world is mourning this day as a black day,” said David Poopalapillai, national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).

‘There will never be justice for Tamil under the current fascist regime in Colombo. Though 200,000 Tamils have been released from camps, there is no rehabilitation. These 200,000 people have become street people, with nowhere to go. Over 30,000 are still languishing in government camps,” he said.

240 Sinhala families move into Tamil land

February 6, 2011 Comments Off on 240 Sinhala families move into Tamil land

Tamilnet (31/01) – Hasty Sinhala colonisation wedges north and east at Kokku’laay

Within the last three weeks, 240 Sinhala families were hastily settled at Kokku’laay, a narrow strip of land, which is the only link of contiguity between the northern and eastern flanks of the country of Eezham Tamils in the island. This pivotal conspiracy of Colombo to demographically de-link the contiguity of the two Tamil provinces is being implemented by SL colonial governor in the north, Maj. Gen. Chandrasri and by SL ‘Rehabilitation’ minister Rishard Baddiudeen. Colombo lies that it is only ‘resettlement’ of Sinhalese, but except one or two families others are outsiders and the 43 original Tamil families resettled among Sinhalese now live in fear. The demographic wedging takes place at a time when New Delhi, advocating ‘home grown’ solution, is allegedly engaged in pressurizing Tamil politicians to commit to the de-link through their own mouth.

In Britain, (alleged) war criminals are sometimes accepted

February 6, 2011 Comments Off on In Britain, (alleged) war criminals are sometimes accepted

The Guardian (04/02) – Britain home to nearly 400 war crimes suspects

Hundreds of suspected war criminals are living in Britain, despite recommendations by a UK Border Agency unit that action be taken against them.

A special war crimes unit within the immigration agency has recommended action against 495 individuals in the last five years believed to have taken part in torture, genocide, crimes against humanity or other war crimes.

But, according to figures provided to the all-party parliamentary group on genocide by the agency, only a fifth have been refused entry, removed or have left voluntarily, leaving 383 suspects at large. Allegations against 47 individuals were believed by the agency to merit further investigation by Scotland Yard, police confirmed.

Wikileaks maybe used in a SL war crimes tribunal

February 6, 2011 Comments Off on Wikileaks maybe used in a SL war crimes tribunal

Tamilnet (05/02) – Hague’s WikiLeaks admission spells legal danger to Sri Lanka war-criminals

The Sierra Leone war crimes tribunal in The Hague has granted Charles G. Taylor, 62, the former Liberian president, who has been on trial charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the right to use two leaked American diplomatic cables as evidence to challenge the court’s impartiality. While the leaked information in the Taylor case was used by Taylor’s lawyer to raise doubts on the courts independence and suggested the prosecution was political, Sri Lanka’s leaked cables from the US Embassy contain incriminating information on the complicity of Rajapakse family, Ex-SLA Commander Sarath Fonseka, and Tamil paramilitaries in war-crimes and crimes against humanity on Tamil civilians, legal sources in Washington said.

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